I just got an interesting email from the Songbird of the Texas Gulf Coast, Alma, down in Port Aransas, sending me pictures of some cool-looking cloud formations that swirled above Mount Rainier in my old state of residence, that being Washington, supposedly this past Friday.
Drivers were pulling to the side of Interstate 5 to take pictures.
Way back on June 24, 1947 a pilot named Kenneth A. Arnold coined the term "flying saucer" to describe 9 unusual objects he observed flying in a chain near Mount Rainier, heading towards Mount Adams at what amounted to supersonic speeds at a time in history when no earthly planes had broken the sound barrier.
After he described the flying object's shape as looking like a flat saucer or disc and described their motion as being like that of a saucer skipping across water the press quickly grabbed hold of the term "flying saucer," many of which were reported being seen in the following days.
This singular event ignited the UFO phenomenon that continues off and on to this day, as in last winter, or was it the winter before, there was a UFO widely reported to have been seen down by Stephenville, here in Texas.
Arnold's account was found to be highly credible. And then it was corroborated by others who had witnessed the same thing and were equally credible. In the days that followed numerous other credible witnesses described seeing stuff in the sky over Washington they'd not seen before. And then on Day 10 came a primary corroborative sighting, this time by a United Airlines crew over Idaho on their way to Seattle who saw disk-like objects pacing their plane.
The next day Arnold met with the pilot, Captain, E. J. Smith, and co-pilot, to compare the details of what they saw. Within days there were sightings over Tulsa, Oklahoma and Phoenix, Arizona.
The last photo of flying saucer like clouds swirling around Mount Rainier is the view from Gig Harbor. Gig Harbor is on the Olympic Peninsula on the other side of the Narrows from Tacoma, accessed by parallel suspension bridges.
These spectacular cloud formations are called lenticular clouds. They occur when the air flow over Mount Rainier hits a precise condition where the air gets pushed up, then cools and condenses into clouds. A moist onshore flow preceding an incoming rainstorm sets up the conditions that makes these clouds.